It was with good reason that the early Pilgrim Fathers fell down on their knees when they reached Cape Cod three hundred and fifty years ago.
They had endured a stormy Atlantic journey in their tiny boat "Mayflower" and, when they eventually put their feet on dry land, they gave loud thanks and promptly named the spot PROVIDENCE.
This principle of giving thanks was later enshrined in the annual American calendar as a special day. Since wild turkey served to enrich the diet of the early settlers, these resourceful people named the bird the national emblem of America. A place of honour it still holds to this day which has not been taken over by the bald eagle!
Times have changed however, and not for the better.
For example, here in Canada, 5 million turkeys will meet their fate this weekend, roasted, basted, dressed and later stuffed into the mouths of 30 million or Canadians. Of this vast number of hungry humans less than a few percent will even think about giving God thanks before they tuck into their dinner. Saying grace before our meals has now become passe in modern Canada even on Thanks Giving Day.
Why, the day itself is now being termed "Turkey" Day and the bird is becoming the predominant symbol in all the frenetic marketing that goes on in the grocery stores at this time of year.
Ah, if only all thirty million of us could be shipped from England to Newfoundland in a fleet of tiny Mayflowers to endure our first winter under canvas and tree branches! I do not doubt that the volume of thanks coming from a table loaded with roast turkey would increase dramatically.